Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, a rich man, influential in the Sanhedrin, who has remained anonymous when the Lord is acclaimed throughout Palestine, presents himself to Pilate to take charge of the Body of the Lord. He is about to ask him for "the greatest demand that has ever been made: the Body of Jesus, the Son of God, the treasure of the Church, its wealth, its teaching and example, its consolation, the Bread with which it was to be nourished until eternal life. Joseph, at that moment, represented with his request the desire of all men, of the whole Church, which needed Him to keep her alive eternally".
Also in these moments of confusion, when the disciples, except for John, had fled, another disciple of great social importance, who had not been present during the hours of triumph, made his appearance. Nicodemus arrived, the same one who had come to Him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
How grateful Our Lady would be for the help of these two men: their generosity, their courage, their piety! How grateful we are to them too!
The small group that, together with Our Lady and the women of whom the Gospel makes special mention, took charge of burying the Body of Jesus, had little time because of the feast of the following day, which began at dusk of that day. They washed the Body with extreme piety, perfumed it (the quantity of perfumes that Nicodemus brought was very great: about one hundred pounds), wrapped it in a new linen cloth that Joseph bought and deposited it in a tomb dug in the rock, which was Joseph's own and which had not been used for any other body. They covered his head with a shroud15.
How we envy Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus! How we would like to have been present to take care of the Body of the Lord with immense pity: "I will go up with them to the foot of the Cross, I will cling to the cold Body, the corpse of Christ, with the fire of my love..., I will unnail it with the fire of my love.... ..., I will unnail it with my atonements and mortifications..., I will wrap it in the new linen of my clean life, and I will bury it in my breast of living rock, from where no one will be able to tear it from me, and there, Lord, rest!
"When all the world forsakes and despises you..., serviam, I will serve you, Lord."
We must not forget for a single day that in our tabernacles Jesus is alive, but as helpless as on the Cross, or as later in the Sepulcher. Christ gives himself to his Church and to each Christian so that the fire of our love may take care of him and attend to him as best we can, and so that our clean life may envelop him like that linen cloth that Joseph bought. But besides these manifestations of our love, there must be others that perhaps demand part of our money, of our time, of our effort: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus did not spare these other tokens of love.